News & Views

Mounting Opposition to Vilnius “Convention Center in the Old Jewish Cemetery”


[LAST UPDATE]


Registry of Opposition to “The National Convention Center” Atop the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (Šnipiškės)

PETITION (42,000 SIGNATURES)12 US CONGRESSMENLOCAL JEWS PEOPLE NEAR & FARLEADING RABBIS;  CHIEF RABBI OF ISRAELVIDEOARTICLES IN LITHUANIAN

Just ONE allegedly “compromised” group of Satmar rabbis in London, the “CPJCE”, are  allegedly in cahoots with certain Lithuanian government sections, and business & builders’ financial ambitions for the cemetery.

(I) Groups of leading Litvak (and other) rabbis

(II) Institutions

(III) Individuals

(IV) Lithuania’s Jewish community

(V) United States Congress

(VI) Background

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Posted in Appeals to the European Commission on Piramónt, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Dovid Katz, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Rothschild Foundation Europe (Hanadiv): Lithuanian Issues, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Mounting Opposition to Vilnius “Convention Center in the Old Jewish Cemetery”

Virtual Yiddish Mini-Museum of Old Jewish Vilna


 


by Dovid Katz ©2018

NEW: FORGOTTEN YIDDISH POEM BY VILNA YIDDISH POET HIRSH GLIK

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More on JEWISH VILNA

See also: Mini-Museum of Jewish Life in Interwar Lithuania

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Posted in Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views | Comments Off on Virtual Yiddish Mini-Museum of Old Jewish Vilna

“Nationalist” March in Central Vilnius on Lithuania’s 100th Birthday Ends Up in Usual Neo-Nazi Spirit



VILNIUS MARCHES  |  KAUNAS  MARCHES  |  REGIONAL PRO-NAZI MARCHES  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  EVENTS  |  OPINION

Eyewitness Report by Defending History Staff with photos by Julius Norwilla. His photo gallery available here.

 

Lead banner reads: “WE KNOW WHO OUR NATION’S HEROES ARE. This year’s “sanitized” event in central Vilnius featured a lead banner glorifying six Nazi collaborators, five of them deeply implicated in the Lithuanian Holocaust. The torchlit march, the day’s final event, made its way from Vilnius’s most sacred Catholic shrine down through the Old City, culminating at a street named for one of the collaborators who had advocated “only” ethnic cleansing of the country’s Jewish minority in 1941.

It started off as a sanitized version of neo-Nazi culture made to look like just “mainstream nationalist.” But by the time the event reached its peak, it featured hundreds of people carrying torches through some of the oldest streets of Vilnius Old Town, while worshiping a banner featuring six alleged Nazi collaborators, five of them deeply implicated in the Holocaust per se, thereby symbolically expressing some kind of glee at the successful ethnic cleansing which these “heroes” supported. The Catholic Church gave the events a de facto  blessing. The two open voices of morally clear protest were of the Jewish activist Daniel Lupshitz and the Catholic professor Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas. Defending History’s Julius Norwilla and Dovid Katz monitored the event.

For more on the six figures depicted on the lead banner, follow the links for (from left):  Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas,  Jonas Noreika,  Povilas Plechavičius,  Kazys Škirpa,  Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas, and  Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Dovid Katz, Events, Julius Norwilla, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Comments Off on “Nationalist” March in Central Vilnius on Lithuania’s 100th Birthday Ends Up in Usual Neo-Nazi Spirit

Defending History Celebrates Lithuania’s 100th Anniversary



OPINION  |  EVENTS  |  BALTIC HEROES  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

Ninety years ago today: Jewish community of Darbėnai (Yiddish: Dorbyán) celebrating the 10th anniversary of Lithuania’s independence on 16 February 1928. Photo: DOV LEVIN COLLECTION.

The DefendingHistory.com community, based in Vilnius, but with a diverse (and perhaps eclectic) group of authors, covering events in a number of countries in the nine years of the journal’s history, are resolutely united in celebrating with joy, respect and affection the centenary of the declaration of the new, democratic Republic of Lithuania in 1918. That event  launched an interwar record on human rights, generous support for minority culture, and harmonious coexistence of all citizens that was demonstrably on a higher level than nearly all its neighbors. And that, in turn, itself harkened back to the grand heritage of multicultural tolerance of the old (and geographically much larger) Grand Duchy of Lithuania, whose many component peoples felt so proud to be Lithuanian. In the Yiddish language, for example, the words Litvish, Litvishkayt, and Litvak say it all.

Lithuania’s Minister Dr. Shimshon Rosenbaum and Seimas member Leib Garfunkel visiting Alytus (Alíte) in 1924. Photo: DOV LEVIN COLLECTION.

As a small gesture from the heart, we shall continue all year to build our modest bilingual Lithuanian-Yiddish Virtual Museum highlighting the interwar years of peaceful pluralism and intercultural interaction.

from the Menke Katz Collection (Vilnius)

In hundreds of language and culture atlas interviews with survivors conducted over the last quarter century, there are overriding and virtually unanimous expressions of loyalty for  — and loving memories of — the longtime interwar president of Lithuania.

President Antanas Smetona never failed to meet with the Jewish community of any town he was visiting. And the communities were proud to present him with wine and traditional delicacies. Of course he spoke Yiddish. Photo: MOLETAI REGIONAL MUSEUM.

In addition, our community has named as its 2018 Person of the Year Malvina Šokelytė Valeikienė, a hero of Lithuania’s 1918 War of Independence, and one of only eight women to be awarded the Vytis Cross of Valor by the prewar Republic of Lithuania.  When 1941 came around she again did the right thing, rose up high to the occasion, and risked her and her family’s life to save fellow citizens slated for murder by the Nazis and their local partners for having been born Jewish.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Events, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion | Tagged , | Comments Off on Defending History Celebrates Lithuania’s 100th Anniversary

Mažvydas National Library Wants Us to Listen to Valiušaitis, a Denier of Škirpa’s Atrocities



 OPINION  |  HISTORY  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

by Andrius Kulikauskas

 

Lithuania’s Mažvydas National Library is curiously fostering two parallel cultures which have yet to engage each other. Up on the fifth floor, on the West side, an eminent Judaic studies scholar leads the Judaica Research Center (cosponsored by the Yivo institute in New York), and on the East side, journalist Vidmantas Valiušaitis leads the Adolfas Damušis Democracy Studies Center.

More on Mažvydas National Library; on Yivo’s history in Vilnius since 2011

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Mažvydas National Library (Issues Arising), News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Yivo Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Mažvydas National Library Wants Us to Listen to Valiušaitis, a Denier of Škirpa’s Atrocities

Israel Chronicle (updated)


[most recent update]


Israeli Foreign Policy and the Holocaust in Eastern Europe (1990 — 2018)

Debate Tracker:

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Media Tracker:

2016   2015   2014   2013   2012   2011   2010   2009   2008   2007   earlier years


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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Israel, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Yad Vashem Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Israel Chronicle (updated)

Report on Wrocław Jewish Cemetery Now in Public Domain



CEMETERIES  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  POLAND  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS

VILNIUS—An important factual report on the fate of the old Gwarna Street Jewish cemetery in Wrocław, western Poland, written by a young Judaic Studies scholar in the city, Agnieszka Jablonska, has been circulating among specialists internationally since last August. It was at the time one of the sources noted in Defending History’s editorial on the subject. The report, entitled On Saving Memory: The Jewish Cemetery on Gwarna Street in Wrocław, Poland provides an abstract that summarizes the narrative:

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, News & Views, Poland, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Report on Wrocław Jewish Cemetery Now in Public Domain

Vanagaitė’s PR Rollout in Vilnius of (1) Romance with Wiesenthal Center Nazi Hunter, (2) New Book, Dual (3) Holocaust & (4) Postwar KGB Based Critique of Nationalist Hero — A Mix-&-Match Making for Mass Media Melee


[UPDATED; ORIGINAL PUBLICATION 29 OCT. 2017]


BOOKS (/Mūsiškiai)  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED?  |  MEDIA WATCH  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS

Jump to: English media section

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Efraim Zuroff, Events, Humor (Of Sorts), Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Rūta Vanagaitė | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vanagaitė’s PR Rollout in Vilnius of (1) Romance with Wiesenthal Center Nazi Hunter, (2) New Book, Dual (3) Holocaust & (4) Postwar KGB Based Critique of Nationalist Hero — A Mix-&-Match Making for Mass Media Melee

Targum Shlishi Presents DefendingHistory.com’s Work on Holocaust Remembrance Day



AVENTURA, FLORIDATargum Shlishi, one of the world’s leading voices in creative thinking and innovative problem solving when it comes to Jewish survival — and the survival of Jewish memory — featured various aspects of Defending History’s Vilnius-based work today, in its blogpost on the occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day. A PDF facsimile of the post follows (please use handles at upper left to turn pages).

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Posted in Double Genocide, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, United States | Comments Off on Targum Shlishi Presents DefendingHistory.com’s Work on Holocaust Remembrance Day

Chief Rabbi of Israel Pleads with Lithuania’s President to Abandon Plans for Convention Center on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery


 


DOCUMENTS  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION   |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  CPJCE

VILNIUS—Copies began to circulate in recent days of the letter, dated 7 January 2018, from Rabbi David Lau, chief rabbi of Israel and president of the country’s Chief Rabbinic Council, to Lithuania’s president, Dalia Grybauskaitė, concerning plans for a new national convention center in the heart of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt, in today’s Šnipiškės district of the Lithuanian capital. A facsimile follows this report.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok) | Comments Off on Chief Rabbi of Israel Pleads with Lithuania’s President to Abandon Plans for Convention Center on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Great Expectations for Kaunas, as City is Named 2022 “Capital of European Culture”



OPINION  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

Congratulations to the city of Kaunas, Lithuania, once known also as Kovno (in Yiddish Kóvne) on its selection as Europe’s “Capital of European Culture” in 2022, sharing the title with Esch-sur-Alzette in Luxembourg.

The city’s leaders now have a splendid opportunity to take the moral high road in dealing with a number of ghosts from the present and the past. To start with the present, will the city’s officials now act rapidly to avoid a public perception disaster by moving this year’s neo-Nazi parade away from the city center during the February 16th Independence Day celebrations? Previous years’ marches have on occasion glorified actual Kaunas Holocaust collaborators, causing deep pain to Survivors and their families, as well to so many of the city’s people.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Human Rights, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on Great Expectations for Kaunas, as City is Named 2022 “Capital of European Culture”

Does the City of New Britain, Connecticut Really Want to Honor Someone who Led a Hitlerist Militia in the Early Days of the Lithuanian Holocaust?



OPINION  |  USA COLLABORATORS HONORED  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

VILNIUS—At the suggestion of a number of our readers in Connecticut and neighboring states, Defending History has contacted the office of the Hon. Erin E. Steward, mayor of New Britain, Connecticut, to ask if her team was aware of the alleged pro-Nazi and Holocaust collaborator background of a Lithuanian militant, Adolfas Ramanauskas (“Vanagas”) who became a major leader of the anti-Soviet resistance in the years after the war. We urge the mayor to reconsider plans for him to be glorified in New Britain, Connecticut this year. It would make much more sense to honor Lithuania’s 100th anniversary of its inspirational 1918 independence in a way that is dignified and can be celebrated by all the peoples of Lithuania, at home and in its far-flung diaspora.

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Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, United States | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Does the City of New Britain, Connecticut Really Want to Honor Someone who Led a Hitlerist Militia in the Early Days of the Lithuanian Holocaust?

Arkady Vaispapir, Hero of Sobibor Revolt, Dies in Kiev at 96



OBITUARIES  |  UKRAINE

KIEV—The last surviving organizer of the revolt at Sobibor death camp Arkady Vaispapir, has died at th age of 96.

Vaispapir belied the unfortunate stereotype of Jews going quietly to their deaths. during the Holocaust. He was a Red Army soldier who was wounded in battle, captured by the Nazis and sent to Sobibor. Realizing they were doomed and with nothing to lose, Vaispapir and other Jewish inmates, led by a Jewish Red Army lieutenant named Alexander Pechersky  staged an effective and full-scale revolt against their SS guards. 

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New Medallion Honoring Great Kovno Rabbi Also Honors Lithuania’s Yiddish Heritage



OPINION  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  YIDDISH ISSUES

KAUNAS—The Religious Jewish Community of Kaunas, centered in the city’s storied Choral Synagogue, has just produced something very rare in the contemporary Lithuanian Jewish scene. It is a commemorative coin that is both traditional and novel, while honoring the language of the actual annihilated Jewish communities of Kaunas (also known historically as Kovno, Yiddish Kóvne).

Spektor

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Posted in Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on New Medallion Honoring Great Kovno Rabbi Also Honors Lithuania’s Yiddish Heritage

More Fake News, Again from Ukraine and Once More — About the Holocaust



UKRAINE   |  US  |  MEDIA WATCH

While much is said in some American media outlets  about “fake news” in the US, the smallness of the matters being discussed might come into focus when compared with Ukraine, which is of late producing rather much fake news about the Holocaust and elementary points in World War II history.

As we reported back in October, Ukrainian media outlet Radio Svoboda — the Ukrainian arm of the US Government-funded arm of RFERL — posted a picture from the US Holocaust Museum. It is an image of Polish Jews being deported to a death camp. There was just one problem. Radio Svoboda claimed the picture was from 1949 of Ukrainians being deported to Siberia. In fact, so effective was Radio Svoboda’s forgery that President Poroshenko himself tweeted it claiming it showed Ukrainians being deported. To Poroshenko’s credit, his office took it down almost immediately after we pointed this out.

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Posted in Double Genocide, History, Media Watch, Museums, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Ukraine | Comments Off on More Fake News, Again from Ukraine and Once More — About the Holocaust

Malvina Šokelytė Valeikienė is Defending History’s 2018 Person of the Year



OPINION  |  BALTIC HEROES  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

Malvina Šokelytė Valeikienė (1898-1981)

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Malvina Šokelytė Valeikienė is Defending History’s 2018 Person of the Year

Vilnius Jewish Community (VJC) Issues Historic Statement Calling for Free Democratic Elections for Lithuania’s Jews



DOCUMENTS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—The Vilnius Jewish Community (VJC) today issued the following authoritative English language text of its statement following the Vilnius District Court’s decision of 21 December 2017 (earlier versions appeared in Lithuanian and Russian). The following is the text as it appeared today on the VJC’s Facebook page. Since the court ruling there have been media reports in Defending History, JTA, Times of Israel, Forward, and various other outlets.

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Posted in Documents, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Jewish Community (VJC) Issues Historic Statement Calling for Free Democratic Elections for Lithuania’s Jews

Take Note, Historians of Israeli Diplomacy: Betraying the Truth about the Holocaust is Not a Good Idea



OPINION  |  ISRAEL PAGE  |  ISRAEL SECTION   |  HONORING COLLABORATORS  |  LEGACY OF JOE MELAMED  |  LEGACY OF DOV LEVIN  |  FOREIGN MINISTRIES AND THE HOLOCAUST

by Dovid Katz (Vilnius)

VILNIUS—We had the painful responsibility last week to record the folly of the Israeli embassy in an East European country that would go out of its way to lend “Jewish legitimacy” to a lamentable decision of a national parliament to name the incoming year 2018 in honor of a man, who in addition to whatever acts of bravery as a resistance figure in the postwar Soviet period, was also a leader of an armed pro-Nazi militia in the early days of the Lithuanian Holocaust, in late June and early July of 1941. The primary achievement of these groups, many affiliated with the LAF (Lithuanian Activist Front) fascist “white-armbanders” was the unleashing of pillage, humiliation, harm and murder of their Jewish citizen neighbors. Make no mistake, the Soviets were fleeing, in June 1941, from Hitler’s invasion, the largest in human history, not from the local Jew-killers.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Dovid Katz, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Take Note, Historians of Israeli Diplomacy: Betraying the Truth about the Holocaust is Not a Good Idea

Vilnius District Court Nullifies LJC Head’s Spring 2017 Alleged “Kangaroo-Election Power Grab”



DOCUMENTS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—In her ruling issued earlier today, Vilnius District Court Judge Rima Bražinskienė, following up on her crucial 29 May 2017 judgment, confirmed the illegality of last April’s mid-campaign rule change by the board of the “Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community” which effectively disenfranchised the 2,200 members of the Vilnius Jewish community (as well as the Jewish people in the other. smaller communities) by replacing the long-standing proportional voting system with an oligarchic system giving one vote to each board member (most of whom have allegedly received professional, promotional or financial benefits from the funds of the “Good Will Foundation” that finances the community). As a result, the capacity of the Holocaust-remnant Jewish community of Lithuania to democratically choose its leadership was in one tragic fell swoop annulled in favor of a system that gave that authority to a roomful of wannabe-oligarchs, some of whom hold two or three votes each. The large corpus of protests include last summer’s letter from twenty of the elected members of the Vilnius Jewish Community’s council and a more recent article by Professor Josifas Parasonis.

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The court action asking for relief was brought by the Vilnius Jewish Community as plaintiff. Its 21 member council was elected last May 24th in the largest Jewish electoral assembly in Lithuania this century with meticulous voting open to all community members. Today’s ruling includes the text:

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Posted in Documents, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius District Court Nullifies LJC Head’s Spring 2017 Alleged “Kangaroo-Election Power Grab”

Vilnius Authorities Dump 1000 Jewish Tombstone Fragments on the Wrong Cemetery



OPINION  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION   |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  CEMETERIES

by Sid Leiman

with photographs and input by Julius Norwilla

Not only the living turn to dust; the dead do so as well. So too the tombstones we erect in their memory. Some people merit having their tombstone stand for one generation; others merit having their tombstone stand for two generations. But in the end, it gradually sinks until it is swallowed up by the earth.

S. Y. Agnon, A City in Its Fullness

Abba-Menachem Kremerman

Abba-Menachem Kremerman, who died at 15 in Vilna in 1939. He was buried at the Zaretsha (Užupis) Jewish cemetery. For years now, his gravestone, along with many others, lay in a heap at a garden center. And now, in 2017 it was among a batch dumped by Vilnius municipal authorities on the site of a different Jewish cemetery, the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės), now reconceived as real estate for a national convention center. What’s going on?

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, CPJCE (London), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Sid (Shnayer) Leiman, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Comments Off on Vilnius Authorities Dump 1000 Jewish Tombstone Fragments on the Wrong Cemetery

Virtual Yiddish Mini-Museum of Jewish Life in Interwar Lithuania (Honoring Lithuania’s 100th)



מוזייעלע פון יידישן לעבן אין דער קאָוונער ליטע

Mažasis žydų gyvenimo tarpukario Lietuvoje muziejus

ESTABLISHED IN HONOR OF THE 2018 CENTENARY OF THE RISE OF INDEPENDENT, DEMOCRATIC LITHUANIA IN 1918

by Dovid Katz
See also: Yiddish Mini-Museum of Old Jewish Vilna

EXHIBITS TO DATE 

1919

Thumbnail of yidishe shtime 1919

The 28 October 1919 issue of Kaunas’s Zionist Yiddish daily Di Yídishe shtíme

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Posted in Arts, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Mini-Museum of Jewish Life in Interwar Lithuania, Museums, News & Views, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Virtual Yiddish Mini-Museum of Jewish Life in Interwar Lithuania (Honoring Lithuania’s 100th)

Clemens Heni Confronts the “Red-Brown Equalization Project” in Major Interview in “Frankfurter Rundschau”



MEDIA WATCH  |  GERMANY  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE

Capture

BERLIN—In a groundbreaking interview with Dr. Clemens Heni, director of the Berlin International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (BICSA) in the leading German liberal daily Frankfurter Rundschau, Heni criticizes the ongoing comparison of Hitler and Stalin and the relativization of the Holocaust. He reminds readers, in the interview conducted by journalist Katja Thorwarth, what psychoanalyst Zvi Rix had to say about German reception of the Holocaust: “The Germans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz.”

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Clemens Heni, Double Genocide, Germany, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Prague "Platform" | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Clemens Heni Confronts the “Red-Brown Equalization Project” in Major Interview in “Frankfurter Rundschau”

Two Perspicacious Comments in Today’s Issue of “The Weekly of Vilnius”



OPINION  |  MEDIA WATCH  |  FOREIGN MINISTRIES AND HOLOCAUST ISSUES  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  ISRAEL PAGE  |  ISRAEL SECTION  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

 

VILNIUS—With the permission of the publishers of The Weekly of Vilnius, we are reproducing extracts of two comments from this week’s edition that covers Lithuanian news from 11 to 17 December 2017. The Weekly of Vilnius is sometimes considered to be this city’s most prestigious English-language news publication, famed for its editorial independence and capacity for presenting views that tend to be ignored in the nationalist and ultranationalist media that can be fixated with the “official line.” In the spirit of classic journalism, The Weekly of Vilnius has no online edition (there is an online description and Facebook page) and is available weekly by emailed PDF or hard copy to its elite circle of subscribers, known to include embassies, government agencies, captains of industry, politicians, academics,  libraries, and think tanks.

See also:  Does ambassador’s gesture “legitimize” naming of 2018 for an alleged collaborator?

First, on the subject of this week’s visit with flowers by the ambassador of Israel to the daughter and (successful) chief campaigner for 2018 to be named by the Lithuanian parliament for an alleged Holocaust collaborator (see Defending History‘s coverage), The Weekly of Vilnius highlights, accurately, we believe, the current Israeli embassy’s proclivity for implicitly claiming to act for “the interests of Lithuanian (or Litvak) Jewry” and to speak for “Lithuanian-Jewish relations” when in fact the (sometimes short-term) interests of the present Israeli government are (quite naturally) the determining factor. In fact, the embassy has arguably established a record of harming Lithuanian Jewish interests since it was opened in early 2015. Most shockingly, the Israeli Foreign Ministry seems to have “muscled in” even on restitution payments, deriving from the religious properties of the annihilated communities, now intended for the survival of the Lithuanian Jewish community. See the relevant entries in the grant items enumerated here and here.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Two Perspicacious Comments in Today’s Issue of “The Weekly of Vilnius”

21st Century Lowpoint for Israeli Diplomacy? Ambassador Poses with Photos of Alleged Holocaust Collaborator



OPINION  |  ISRAEL PAGE  |  ISRAEL SECTION   |  HONORING COLLABORATORS  |  LEGACY OF JOE MELAMED  |  LEGACY OF DOV LEVIN  |  FOREIGN MINISTRIES AND THE HOLOCAUST

by Dovid Katz (Vilnius)

 

PHOTO: DELFI.LT

VILNIUS—Israel may have crossed a red line today when it was flaunted on the major News portal Delfi.lt here, both in Lithuanian and in English, that Israeli ambassador Amir Maimon had found the time this week to stage a demonstrative PR-photographed visit to the chief campaigner for the parliament’s decision less than one month ago to name 2018 in honor of Adolfas Ramanauskas — his daughter in Vilnius, Auksutė Ramanauskaitė-Skokauskienė, who is a prime icon of the ultranationalist camp that often glorifies various collaborators and participants in the Holocaust on the grounds that they were also anti-Soviet activists. The PR move came just after a major political commentator asked what Lithuania is getting in return for its staunch political support for the Netanyahu government.

UPDATES TO THIS ARTICLE: WEEKLY OF VILNIUS COMMENTARY; AMBASSADOR’S BETRAYAL OF HOLOCAUST HISTORY A FIASCO AS LITHUANIA VOTES ANYWAY AGAINST U.S. DECISION TO MOVE ITS EMBASSY (PARTING WITH NEIGHBORING LATVIA)

One of the PR photos released shows the ambassador posing underneath adulatory photos of the 1941 pro-Nazi militiaman (from various other periods in his life). Of course Lithuania has a vast number of inspirational historical heroes, including many anti-Soviet heroes, who were not Holocaust collaborators, and state decisions to honor collaborators cause untold pain to survivors, their families, and the remnant Jewish communities in Eastern Europe. They all send a message that becomes part of the history-revision campaign to downgrade the Holocaust in the context of “Double Genocide” revisionism.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Dovid Katz, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Human Rights, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 21st Century Lowpoint for Israeli Diplomacy? Ambassador Poses with Photos of Alleged Holocaust Collaborator

US Government Commission’s Herbert Block Visits Defending History Team in Vilnius, Pledges Support for Moving Convention Center Project Away from Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



THE PETITION  |  THE OLD VILNA CEMETERY  |  INTERNATIONAL OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER ON THE CEMETERY  |  IN LITHUANIAN  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Herbert Block, a veteran member of the American government’s Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, and chair of its committee on the old Vilnius Jewish cemetery, visited yesterday and today for two sessions with staff of the Defending History team here in the Lithuanian capital. Mr. Block is a well-known and beloved figure for the Lithuanian Jewish community, with whom he worked closely for many years (1999 to 2015), during his tenure as Assistant Executive Vice President of the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC or “Joint”), where his work included coordinating successful efforts to achieve restitution that could enable the Jewish community’s survival for generations to come. At present, he is executive director of the American Zionist Movement (AZM). Previously Mr. Block served as Assistant Director for Intergovernmental and Public Affairs for the New York City Independent Budget Office (1996-1999) and was Deputy Director for Intergovernmental Relations at the federal Corporation for National and Community Service in  1994-1995.  He was Assistant to the Mayor of the City of New York from 1990 to 1993 and Special Assistant to the Manhattan Borough President from 1986 to 1989. For years he has been a member of the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) with specialization in the Baltic region and Poland.

Herb Block explained how hard he has been working behind the scenes to ensure the cemetery’s preservation, and pledged his firm personal commitment to work resolutely for the convention center project to be moved to another venue in town — away from Vilna’s Old Jewish Cemetery. 

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Lithuanian Adventures of the Hon. Herbert Block (AK, AZM, (LG)CJH, CPJCE, GWF, USCPAHA, SATMAR/“AARON BRANCH", WJRO), Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on US Government Commission’s Herbert Block Visits Defending History Team in Vilnius, Pledges Support for Moving Convention Center Project Away from Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Lithuania’s Ambassador in Washington Tells Audience of Ruta Vanagaite’s “Russian Connection”



EVENTS  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  BOOKS    | PIRAMÓNT CEMETERY  |  LITHUANIA

by Josh Cohen (Washington DC)

As anyone who has been following events in Lithuania for the last several years surely knows by now, the country sports street names and monuments honoring locals who collaborated with the Nazis during World War Two. It was in this context that I attended an event in Washington, DC yesterday at the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute discussing Ruta Vanagaite’s controversial book “Our People” (it appeared in Lithuanian in 2016) that blows open the door describing the true extent of Lithuanian collaboration in the Holocaust. Vanagaite and her co-author Efraim Zuroff , director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel Office, spoke at the event.

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Posted in Books, Collaborators Glorified, Events, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, United States | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuania’s Ambassador in Washington Tells Audience of Ruta Vanagaite’s “Russian Connection”

Sad Error of Naming 2018 for Someone who “Just” Led a Pro-Nazi “Partisan Squad” in Lithuania in June and July of 1941



OPINION  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

The national scandal unleashed by the Lithuanian Rūta Vanagaitė and the Jewish Efraim Zuroff via their statements about Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, is gradually losing momentum. The Seimas (parliament) went right ahead and declared the incoming year, 2018, to be The Year of Ramanauskas-Vanagas. That is sad. Three years ago, I wrote about this person’s activities in Druskininkai in 1941. Society back then was silent about it. It was only the desire of some politicians to glorify this personage that led to the aforementioned Lithuanian and Jewish commentators to talk about him. They spoke loudly and an antisemitic bubble burst. Vanagaitė’s statement had some inaccuracies. The very statement was taken as an insult by the mainstream. Public details about Zuroff’s statement were scarce. My 2014 article was among those details.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Evaldas Balčiūnas, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Sad Error of Naming 2018 for Someone who “Just” Led a Pro-Nazi “Partisan Squad” in Lithuania in June and July of 1941

The Extraordinary Recent History of Holocaust Studies in Lithuania



OPINION  |  HISTORY  |  LITHUANIA’S STATE COMMISSION ON NAZI AND SOVIET CRIMES   |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

by Dovid Katz

This paper was published today by Taylor and Francis on its website. It appears in Dapim: Studies on the Holocaust, volume 31, no. 3, pp. 285-295 (Dec. 2017). Dapim is edited by the Strochlitz Institute for Holocaust Research at the University of Haifa.

In Lithuania, the primary provider for Holocaust studies for close to two decades has been the state-sponsored International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania (ICECNSORL), which was established in 1998 by decree of the nation’s president and is housed in the office of its prime minister, embedding it in the highest strata of Lithuanian politics. Several of its activities have enabled significant contributions in research, education, and public commemoration.

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PEN America Protests Ban and Proposed Pulping of Ruta Vanagaite’s Books in Lithuania, Including Book on the Holocaust



FREE SPEECH  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

PEN America released this statement on its website today:

NEW YORK—The decision by the Alma Littera publishing house to cut all ties with their author Ruta Vanagaite, and to remove remaining copies of all of her five books from circulation and pulp them, is a troubling overreaction and should be reconsidered, said PEN America today.

The publisher’s decision to remove and destroy all of Vanagaite’s books was a response to her recent criticism of Adolfas Ramanauskas, a Lithuanian nationalist widely perceived as a hero. Vanagaite previously touched on sensitive historical issues in her most recent book, Mūsiškiai (Our People), published in Lithuania in 2016, which discusses the role of Lithuanian nationalists and freedom fighters in the persecution of Jewish Lithuanians and the Holocaust during World War II. Lithuania still denies their role in WWII and the Lithuanian authorities claimed that the book jeopardized national security. The destruction and removal of Vanagaite’s books demonstrates the tight borders of what is acceptable criticism of a national hero in Lithuania. Since the publication of the book, Vanagaite has received threats, which have escalated in recent weeks; a suit against her for slander and denigration of a deceased person has also been filed with the prosecutor by a patriotic group (the prosecutor has declined to take up the case, finding no evidence of malicious intent).

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Posted in Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Rūta Vanagaitė, United States | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on PEN America Protests Ban and Proposed Pulping of Ruta Vanagaite’s Books in Lithuania, Including Book on the Holocaust

Lithuanian Foreign Ministry’s Annual “Litvak Days” in Some Deep London Fog



OPINION  |  UCL MANIPULATED  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  UK  |  JEWISH EVENTS AS COVER  |  USEFUL JEWISH IDIOTS (UJIs)  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE

LONDON—It’s that time of year again. The “Litvak” and “Yiddish” grandees of University College London’s Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, and various cohorts from near and far, queue up to bask in the pot-of-lentil glories offered for their repeated championing of state PR, even when it entailed betrayal of the interests and causes of Holocaust survivors, the actual Litvak legacy, and bona fide Yiddish language and culture. The roster from previous years includes the 2011 conference intended to “fix” the narrative of the Holocaust in the direction of Double Genocide, which resulted in a major protest that included, to her (and the department’s) great credit, the then head-of-department (For the Economist’s coverage see here and here; more media). The record also includes the 2012 refusal of conference organizers to allow a Holocaust survivor five minutes to read a polite statement of concern.

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Old Jewish Gravestones Transported to Piramónt — to Divert Attention from Convention Center Travesty?



OPINION  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION   |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  CEMETERIES

by Julius Norwilla

Delfi.lt, the major Lithuanian news portal, yesterday published an article by its correspondent Rūta Pukenė about the latest “activities” on the site of the five-century old Vilna Jewish cemetery at Piramónt, which houses the ruin of the old Soviet Sports Palace, surrounded by thousands of still extant graves, amid controversial plans to construct a national convention center using the Soviet building as its core. Many friends of Vilnius have argued forcefully that the city’s interests lie in preserving and restoring Lithuania’s oldest Jewish cemetery, where many rabbinic luminaries still lie buried, and for the convention center project to be moved to another venue in town.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Old Jewish Gravestones Transported to Piramónt — to Divert Attention from Convention Center Travesty?

Joe Melamed, Litvak Champion (Images from the Last Years)



צו די שלשים פון יוסף (יאָסקע) מלמד ז″ל

Memories of Joe Melamed Defending History

MORE ON JOE MELAMED (1924-2017)

DEFENDING HISTORY’S JOE MELAMED SECTION. Scroll to end to review upwards in chronological order.

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Books in the Debate to Late 2017


[updated] 


In the Debate to Late 2017

YEAR OF PUBLICATION VARIES.  

See DH’s BOOKS SECTION

Andriukaitis (reviewed by Vasil)

Bankier [Kuniuchowsky Collection] (reviewed by Zuroff)

Berlin (notice of appearance in Defending History)

Bubnys (reviewed by Katz; by Vasil)

Cassedy (reviewed by Katz;  by Nadler;  by Zabludoff;  by Zuroff)

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Translation of Birutė Vyšniauskaitė’s Interview with Faina Kukliansky



VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  MEDIA

Jews and Lithuanians Need to Settle their Disagreements

by Birutė Vyšniauskaitė (Delfi.lt)

This “working translation” is provided for our readers’ reference (embedded links have been added by DH for our readers’ reference, reflecting this journal’s perspectives, not those of the original publication, and longer direct quotes are presented in indented bloc). In the event of any query arising, the original Lithuanian version alone, published by Delfi on 16 November 2017, is authoritative. Note that an official English translation has appeared in The Lithuania Tribune (English Delfi) and is available to subscribers here. [Update of 27 Nov. 2017: The official Jewish Community website today published its translation.] For more articles in English on these issues, see here.

Although the scandal caused by statements made by author Rūta Vanagaitė about the partisan leader Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas has by now subsided, the head of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, Faina Kukliansky believes that this is no more than a temporary calm. The English translation of R. Vanagaitė’s book Mūsiškiai should appear soon. Furthermore she has the support of the European Jewish Congress and she has many supporters in Israel.

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Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Malát (Molėtai), Media Watch, News & Views, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on Translation of Birutė Vyšniauskaitė’s Interview with Faina Kukliansky

Academic Studies Press Launches ‘Journal of Contemporary Antisemitism’ (JCA) Edited by Clemens Heni



EVENTS  |  BOOKS  |  MEDIA WATCH  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  CLEMENS HENI

BERLIN—As the first issue of Journal of Contemporary Antisemitism (JCA) rolled off the presses this week, there was widespread hope that the field of Antisemitism Studies, particularly in Europe, had achieved a notable and reinvigorating breakthrough. What with the entanglements of “larger politics,” both anti-Israel politics in Western Europe, and Holocaust-revisionist politics in Eastern Europe, and right in the midst of populist movement ascendancy and the new east-west Cold War with Putin’s dictatorial and dangerous Russia, the field has long been stymied in Europe. One major factor has been the unhelpful attitude of some of the major European institutions (and at times, even Western embassies in Eastern Europe and major Western organizations) that have covered for antisemitism by arranging “staged” events that cover up for the current issues rather than address them. Finally there is a journal whose inaugural issue’s message from the editor makes clear that it will break the lame taboos of recent years in the field.

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New Section in Lithuanian on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės)



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION   |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  CEMETERIES

VILNIUSDefending History today inaugurated a new section, in the Lithuanian language, on the international efforts calling for restoration of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery at Piramónt and for the Jewish heritage of Vilna and Lithuania to not be defiled by a convention center surrounded by a half millennium of Litvak graves. The convention center project can easily be moved to another appropriate venue. The section aims to provide content stemming from various communities within Lithuania as well as translations of the international outcry over the convention center project.

Vilniaus senosios žydų (Piramonto) kapinės Šnipiškėse

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Lithuanian Adventures of the Hon. Herbert Block (AK, AZM, (LG)CJH, CPJCE, GWF, USCPAHA, SATMAR/“AARON BRANCH", WJRO), Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , | Comments Off on New Section in Lithuanian on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės)

Real or Rigged ‘International Conference on Fascism and Antisemitism’ in Vilnius on 9 November?



OPINION  | HUMAN RIGHTS  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE

VILNIUS—Yet again, a conference here in the Lithuanian capital dedicated to combating fascism and antisemitism is announced, without there having been a public call for papers, without a single speaker from among those who actually combat fascism and antisemitism in the country, with nobody from the democratically elected Vilnius Jewish community (not even the long-time editor of Jerusalem of Lithuania who has exposed and combated antisemitism for decades). No Holocaust survivors. None of the nationally relevant questions of the day can be found on the conference program. As ever, outstanding academic personalities from abroad are recruited to lend the gravitas and provide serious papers on an array of topics (which they admirably do), as long as these have little directly to do with the actual contemporary issues here in Lithuania (but the conference introduction by Prof. Dovilė Budrytė does indeed touch on some of the issues, which seem, however, to be largely absent from the actual conference program). The last such event, in 2015, resulted in the Norwegian Embassy withdrawing support and launching an inquiry on behalf of the EEA (European Economic Area) funders of that event.

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Harvard Publishes “Catalog of the Leyzer Ran Collection in Harvard College Library”



BOOKS  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE

Image (279)VILNIUS—As the first small shipment of Harvard Library’s new book, Catalog of the Leyzer Ran Collection in the Harvard College Library arrived this week in the Lithuanian capital, there was widespread satisfaction that at least a tabulation of the contents of Leyzer Ran’s extensive archive of Jewish Vilna is finally available. The collection was bequeathed to Harvard University where the Library maintains it as a distinct entity with its own name, space, and now, a handsome catalogue brought out by Harvard University. Leyzer Ran (1912-1995) is widely considered to be the primary postwar chronicler of the centuries-old unique Jewish civilization of the city known in Yiddish as Vílne, Yerusholáyim d’Líte — Vilna, Jerusalem of Lithuania. The newly appeared catalogue was compiled and edited by Dr. Charles Berlin, who is Head of Judaica at Harvard Library and Harvard University’s Lee M. Friedman Bibliographer in Judaica.

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“Weekly of Vilnius” Provides Exclusive English Language Coverage of the Vanagaitė Saga



FREE SPEECH  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  MEDIA WATCH  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUSThe Weekly of Vilnius, sometimes considered to be this city’s most prestigious English-language news publication, today released its weekly issue which contains a highly documented summary of many of the sides in the debate over author and PR specialist Ruta Vanagaitė’s comments concerning state plans to name 2018 for someone who led a pro-Nazi militia during the early days of the Lithuanian Holocaust in 1941, but who is being honored for his postwar service in the anti-Soviet resistance. Defending History has published its own take along with a much more limited summary of the debate which readers may consult for comparison and helping “complete the picture” as best as it can be in English. Note that selections of Lithuanian articles on the subject from the major news portal Delfi.lt, and from BNS (Baltic News Service), in both cases generally representing government and “nationalist establishment” positions, are available in English translation on the English Delfi.lt (Lithuania Tribune) site (search “Vanagaitė” for rapid reference).

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The World Celebrates Professor Greimas With No Regard for His Victims



OPINION  |  HISTORY  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

by Andrius Kulikauskas

Greimas00

 

Renowned Lithuanian-French thinker Algirdas Julius Greimas (1917-1992) was more forthcoming than most about his dubious, or frankly, criminal behavior as a young man.

Greimas01

From his interviews we know that in 1940, he gave public speeches in support of Soviet annexation of Lithuania. And in 1941, he served as an editor for the newspaper Tėvynė in Šiauliai, which repeatedly called for ethnic cleansing of Jews from Lithuania.

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Mažvydas National Library (Issues Arising), News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The World Celebrates Professor Greimas With No Regard for His Victims

Vilnius District Court’s 29 May 2017 Ruling on LJC’s Mid-Campaign Election Rule Change



DOCUMENTS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

Vilnius District Court Judge Rima Bražinskienė’s 29 May 2017 ruling, concerning the “official” Lithuanian Jewish Community’s mid-campaign rule change during last spring’s leadership contest, effectively disenfranchising 2,200 Jewish people of Vilnius (the vast majority of Lithuania’s Jews today) in favor of a new voting system granting effective power over the election to a roomful of “oligarchs” (some of whom have two or three votes each, i.e. two or three times as much weight as the 2,200 Jews disenfranchised) is now publicly available.

The following, for the convenience of our readers, is an English translation. Note that in the case of any query arising, the Lithuanian original is alone authoritative.

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Posted in Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius District Court’s 29 May 2017 Ruling on LJC’s Mid-Campaign Election Rule Change

Defending History Calls on Ukraine’s President to Publicly Rebuke Senior Official for “Dog Whistle” Advocating Antisemitic Violence



OPINION  |  GLORIFICATION OF PERPETRATORS  |  UKRAINE

In response to a protest from the World Jewish Congress, after the Ukrainian city of Vinnitsa unveiled a statue celebrating nationalist leader Symon Petliura — whose troops killed tens of thousands of Jews in pogroms between 1918 and 1921 — a regional official from the extremist Svoboda party threatened Jewish citizens. In a Facebook rant, the Svoboda official warned Jews opposed to the Petliura statue to fall in line or face the consequences. The Svoboda official stated that “the only time we comfortably coexisted with kikes is Koliyvishchyna,” a reference to an 18th century pogrom against Jews in Ukraine.

Related: Ukraine’s Minister for Infrastructure Plans to Build Actual “Road to Bandera”

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Ukraine’s Minister for Infrastructure Announces He’ll Actually Build — “The Road to Bandera”



OPINION  |  GLORIFICATION OF PERPETRATORS  |  UKRAINE  |  STEPAN BANDERA

As Ukraine’s Orwellian-sounding Ukrainian Institute of National Memory continues building a cult around such antisemitic World War II era nationalists as Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych — their forces were responsible for the murder of (at least) tens of thousands of Jews and Poles — some frankly surreal aspects come sharply into view. The latest though really takes the cake.

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Joseph Melamed, Major Leader of International Litvak Community, Dies in Tel Aviv at 93



OBITUARIES  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

See Defending History’s Joe Melamed section

The Real Litvak Champion of the 21st century: Joe Melamed, who passed away Thursday in Tel Aviv at 93 was the genuine Litvak who could not be bought, seduced or bamboozled (not even by photo-ops with presidents and ambassadors, glorious roots trips, grants, honors and other pots of lentils). He lived and breathed with loyalty to his annihilated people, the truth of their disappearance by genocide, and the future of their scattered remnants. And he did so in beautiful Kovno Yiddish, elegant modern Hebrew or a diplomat’s English.

Melamed-alone-Nov-2011

Joe Melamed in his Tel Aviv office on King David Boulevard in 2011. Photo ©DefendingHistory.com.

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Double Genocide: New and Official Form of Holocaust Denial



OPINION  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

by Dovid Katz

This article appeared today in Jewish Currents:

America was jolted this past summer not only by a neo-Nazi event in Charlottesville, Virginia that left an anti-Nazi protester dead by vehicular homicide, but by President Trump’s “blame on both sides” line, which created in America a microcosm of a debate that has been raging for some years in Eastern Europe among historians of World War II and the Holocaust and several Eastern European governments.

The entire Charlottesville debate was over a bogus moral equivalence that Trump drew between American neo-Nazi demonstrators and those who turned out to oppose them. The larger context was about whether those who who fought for slavery and secession in the Civil War are “the same” as those who fought against slavery and for the Union. Magnify that all a hundred-fold to begin to comprehend what is a major intellectual and political push to contextualize the actual Nazi genocide, the Holocaust, within the Hitlerist “freedom fight” against Soviet Communist domination in Eastern Europe.

Such are our times, in which well-presented postmodernist slop can stultify elementary clarity of thought. In the various cases at hand, different versions of the same bogus moral equivalence strategy of argumentation are used, at a minimum, to make prosaic and palatable that which is inherently beyond the pale, such as state-sponsored public-square adulation for those who collaborated in genocide in Eastern Europe (or, indeed, in slavery).

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New Prague — Brussels Battle over European History?



PRAGUE PLATFORM  |  PRAGUE DECLARATION  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  EU

Far-Right “Prague Platform” (Funded by EU Taxpayers) Complains that BRUSSELS “House of European History” Plan has “Neo-Marxist Message”

Irina-Anatolevna-Izhoginas-cartoon-300x300

Irina Izhogina / DefendingHistory.com

The Prague Platform has a long record of supporting the Prague Declaration and Double Genocide politics, and systematically ignoring the growing manifestations of state glorification of Holocaust collaborators in LatviaLithuaniaUkraine, and other East European countries. Equally there is never mention of the undemocratic criminalization (via “Double Genocide laws”) of the Western narrative of World War II, with punishments of up to 2 years imprisonment in Lithuania (2010), 3 years in Hungary (2010), 5 years in Latvia (2014), 10 years in Ukraine (2015); but no specific prison sentences mentioned in Estonia’s “Valentine’s Day Law” (2012) .

The Platform’s website, publications and materials seem to never even mention that there has been a Europarliamentary reply to the 2008 Prague Declaration: the 2012 Seventy Years Declaration (see text in European languages).

The “battle of the declarations” has itself become an illuminating chronicle of the ongoing history debates and memory wars

Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, EU, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Prague "Platform" | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on New Prague — Brussels Battle over European History?

Will Ukraine’s President Poroshenko Correct Abuse of Holocaust Photo?



UKRAINE  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

Ukraine’s “pro-Western” president Petro Poroshenko, who in 2014 proclaimed the founding of a Hitlerist fascist group as a national holiday, and in 2015 tweeted photos of himself in a uniform making a joke of fascist leader Stepan Bandera, whose hordes were responsible for the murders of (at least) tens of thousands of Jewish and Polish civilians on the basis of ethnicity, has just “done it again.”

“To be ‘pro-Western’ one must share Western values, not just geopolitical foes.”

—DefendingHistory.com

On Friday, Poroshenko tweeted a photograph which he claimed represented citizens of Western Ukraine being deported to Siberia in 1947. His tweet translates: “Today is the 70th anniversary of mass deportations of populations of western Ukraine to Siberia and northern regions of the former USSR.  We remember.”

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Instead of Removing Honors for Holocaust Collaborators, New Petition is Launched to Ask for Yet Another



OPINION  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

In a 2012 article in Defending History, I asked why Holocaust perpetrator Jonas Noreika is made into a “national hero” here in Lithuania, one honored by street names and public plaques. Since then protests have come, among others, from a somewhat obscured  petition by Lithuanian intellectuals,  an appeal from journalist and Declaration of Independence signatory Rimvydas Valatka, Lithuania’s official Jewish community, Grant Gochin, a South African born author resident in the United States, and others. These appeals, all from 2015, were crowned by a rare protest by Jewish students at a Noreika shrine in central Vilnius (see Defending History’s guide for English readers to the links in the 2015 debate).

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Evaldas Balčiūnas, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on Instead of Removing Honors for Holocaust Collaborators, New Petition is Launched to Ask for Yet Another

Regional Leader of Ukraine’s Svoboda Party Threatens Jews who Disagree with a Public Monument for Pogrom-meister Petliura



 UKRAINE  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  FREE SPEECH  |  GLORIFICATION OF CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

As reported last week, in connection with a protest from the World Jewish Congress, authorities in Ukraine recently inaugurated a statue to Symon Petliura in the city of Vinnitsa. Petliura (1879—1926) was a Ukrainian whose troops killed tens of thousands of Jewish civilians in a devastating series of pogroms in Ukraine during the Russian Revolution and the civil war that followed it.

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Anti-Nazi Partisan Hero Chasia Langbord Shpanerflig, 96, Dies in Vilnius



OBITUARIES  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

VILNIUS—At Sabbath services at Vilnius’s Choral Synagogue this morning, word began to spread that Vilnius’s oldest surviving veteran of the Jewish Partisans, Chasia (Khásye) Langbord Shpanerflig, had passed away at the age of 96.

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Text of Irish Ambassador Dónal Denham’s 2008 Speech at Brantsovsky Reception is Released for the Record



DOCUMENTS  |  IRELAND  |  BLAMING THE VICTIMS?

Nearly a decade after MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAHE Dónal Denham’s 3 June 2008 historic reception for Fania Brantsovsky, a hero of the Holocaust-era anti-Nazi Jewish partisan resistance in Lithuania, held at the Irish Ambassador’s Residence in Vinius, the text of his speech has been released. It appears below. See our report on the June 2008 event. Historical note: Defending History believes it was the first time since collapse of the Soviet Union that Western embassies in one of the new democracies saw a need to honor a person who was being unjustly targeted by state prosecution services and other national elites. The American, Austrian, British, French, German, Norwegian and other embassies followed the Irish lead. 

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Posted in Documents, Ireland, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), Vilnius Yiddish Institute | Comments Off on Text of Irish Ambassador Dónal Denham’s 2008 Speech at Brantsovsky Reception is Released for the Record

World Jewish Congress Laments “Deplorable” Ukrainian Monument for Petliura



 UKRAINE  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  GLORIFICATION OF CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

The following press statement appeared on the World Jewish Congress website on 17 October 2017:

NEW YORK—The World Jewish Congress has denounced the Ukrainian city of Vinnitsa’s “disgraceful and deplorable” move to celebrate nationalist leader Symon Petliura, whose Ukrainian People’s Republic killed tens of thousands of Jews in pogroms under his leadership in 1918-1921, and urged the local authorities to pull a monument unveiled over the weekend in his honor.

WJC CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer said in a statement:

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Latvian Court Rules Against a Protester Who Turned Out Against the Annual Waffen SS March



FREE SPEECH  |  LATVIA  |  RIGA PRO-NAZI MARCHES  |  PRO-NAZI MARCHES

by Aleksandr Kuzmin (Riga)

On March 16, 2017, the annual march honoring Waffen SS Latvian Legion veterans took place in Riga as usual. A co-ruling political party had called the legionnaires “freedom fighters”[1], the Security Police had denounced opponents of the march as “so-called Anti-Fascists” and put them in the chapter “Manifestations of Russia’s compatriot policies in Latvia” of its annual report.[2] The counter-picket applied for by the Latvian Anti-Nazi Committee had been ordered to move farther from the march route. Again, a pretty usual development.

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Posted in Aleksandr Kuzmin, Collaborators Glorified, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Latvia, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Riga's Waffen SS Marches, Symbology | Comments Off on Latvian Court Rules Against a Protester Who Turned Out Against the Annual Waffen SS March

Ukraine Hearing on Street Naming for Nazi SS Leader is Postponed to 30th



UKRAINE  |  GLORIFICATION OF NAZI COLLABORATORS

As reported on 7 October, the city of Kalush in Western Ukraine has named a street for Hauptsturmführer Dmitro Paliyiv, a key founder of the Ukrainian Waffen-SS Galizien division. The division enjoyed a visit  from Heinrich Himmler during World War II.

15 OCT. UPDATES: JTA report; ALSO: Up to 20,000 participated in annual October 14th Kiev march to glorify the fascist UPA; Nazi salutes reported by Radio Free Europe

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Ukrainian City Naming Street in Honor of Waffen-SS Hauptsturmführer


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Lithuania’s Prime Minister Bizarrely Claims that Conference Center on Old Jewish Cemetery will “Lift” Vilnius…



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION   |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  CEMETERIES  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  | MEDIA WATCH

VILNIUS—In comments reported today by the Lithuanian press service ELTA, the nation’s prime minister, Saulius Skvernelis has announced and hailed the decision to proceed with a national convention center in the heart of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery as one that “will lift the Lithuanian capital to a higher level of competitiveness in tourism.” He also notes that “the lack of a modern congress center in Vilnius is the main obstacle for the development of conference tourism in Lithuania,” not mentioning that there are numerous alternative sites for much more rapid and hassle-free construction of such a center.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Lithuania, Lithuanian Adventures of the Hon. Herbert Block (AK, AZM, (LG)CJH, CPJCE, GWF, USCPAHA, SATMAR/“AARON BRANCH", WJRO), Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lithuania’s Prime Minister Bizarrely Claims that Conference Center on Old Jewish Cemetery will “Lift” Vilnius…

Linas Vildžiūnas’s Review of Rūta Vanagaitė’s ‘Mūsiškiai’ Now Available in English Translation



BOOKS  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY

by Linas Vildžiūnas

The following English translation, by Laurynas Vaičiūnas, of Linas Vildžiūnas’s review of Rūta Vanagaitė’s Mūsiškiai appeared today in New Eastern Europe (as PDF). 

A book review of Mūsiškiai (Ours). By: Rūta Vanagaitė. Publisher: Alma littera, Vilnius, 2016.

What makes Rūta Vanagaitė’s Ours (Mūsiškiai) very different from all other Lithuanian books on the Holocaust is that it was from the start written as a bestseller. Written by an experienced public relations professional as an appeal to the Lithuanian public, the book raises the painful issue of historical responsibility. The author does not refrain from giving a personal twist to the story (it would be impossible otherwise, as the Holocaust is an issue of individual position and individual responsibility). The author is piercingly direct and uses black comedy. She approaches the topic with composure and a sense of supremacy. These two features may irritate the reader. However, she is entitled to it as she aims to confront the reader, which she so eloquently achieves.

READ MOREAS PDF.

 

Posted in Arts, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Books, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Rūta Vanagaitė | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Linas Vildžiūnas’s Review of Rūta Vanagaitė’s ‘Mūsiškiai’ Now Available in English Translation

Red-Brown Iconography



DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  SYMBOLOGY

The governing establishments in Eastern European states sometimes produce red-brown symbols as part of the wider campaign to give the notion of red-brown equality an aura of official sanctioned status. The effects are obvious: People are being desensitized to the swastika, Soviet symbols are ‘artistically’ (i.e. via political kitsch) recombinated into the new Dual Equal Evil symbols making the revisionist history ‘true’. Severe pain is caused to families of Holocaust Survivors and anti-Nazi Soviet war veterans alike. The continued silence of the European Union, the OSCE and NATO encourages the drift toward the far right, which includes clean-up of the image of Nazi collaborators in elite circles, and glorification of Nazi symbols in more uncouth environments.

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New “Litvak” Postage Stamp is Disturbing for Lithuanian Jews, Holocaust Survivors, and Yiddish Lovers



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  IDENTITY THEFT OF LITVAK HERITAGE  |  YIDDISH AFFAIRS  |  SYMBOLOGY

by Dovid Katz

One does not have to be a theoretical champion of Free Enterprise vs. Government Intervention to take stock of this week’s incredible contrast between the two major products of this last week in September, the annual week of intensive Jewish commemoration activity in Lithuania, and particularly, in its fabled capital, Vilnius. By “products” we mean things of substantive physicality that will outlive by far the week’s posturing, speeches, and meetings with glittering public officials and national leaders.

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Posted in Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , | Comments Off on New “Litvak” Postage Stamp is Disturbing for Lithuanian Jews, Holocaust Survivors, and Yiddish Lovers

Andrius Kulikauskas’s Presentation at Sept. 2017 Conference in Lublin, Poland



OPINION  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  ANTISEMITISM

by Andrius Kulikauskas

The following is a reposting of the author’s posting on his website, with his permission, of his presentation at Culture • Cognition • Communication: (Inter)cultural Perspectives on Language and the Mind (ICPLM 2017), held at the University of Lublin in Polnand on 14 and 15 September 2017. Audio recordingDr. Kulikauskas is assistant professor at Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (VGTU).

Evolution of Self-Identity in the Intercultural Debate on Whether to Restore Vilnius’s Oldest Jewish Cemetery

How Do Things Come to Matter?

Evolution of Self-Identity in the Intercultural Debate on Whether to Restore Vilnius’s Oldest Jewish Cemetery. My name is Andrius Kulikauskas of Vilnius Gediminas Technical University in Lithuania. I will be speaking about a question important to me, How do things come to matter? and I will relate it to the topic of Lithuanian Jewish heritage: The Evolution of Self-Identity in the Intercultural Debate on Whether to Restore Vilnius’s Oldest Jewish Cemetery. So I am very grateful to the organizers and to our last speaker for having a very much related topic and I’ll be focusing on my own philosophical question but as a citizen of Lithuania I am very glad to be able to think about this very concrete issue. In our case, the cemetery is from the 1500s. As you know, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania had fantastic relations with Jews up until the Holocaust when Lithuania was I think the first place where all of the Jews were killed, in our countryside in 1941 even before the Wansee conference.

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Symbology | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Andrius Kulikauskas’s Presentation at Sept. 2017 Conference in Lublin, Poland

Premier Vilnius Showing of “Last Sunday in August” is Free and Open to Public



FILM AND THEATER  |  EVENTS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  COMMEMORATIONS  |  MALÁT

Lat Sunday

All welcome at next Sunday’s Vilnius showing of the new film The Last Sunday in August about Malát (Molėtai). 24 September 2017 at 6 PM at the Ozas Multi Cinema, Ozo 18, Vilnius 08009. Admission free but pre-registration required (phone or SMS: +3706 718-6202 or +3706 153-9950). For background see DH’s Malát sectionTrailer for the film.

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Posted in Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Film, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Malát (Molėtai), News & Views | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Premier Vilnius Showing of “Last Sunday in August” is Free and Open to Public

Whom Does the “Lithuanian Jewish Community” Board Really Represent?



OPINION  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION

by Josifas Parasonis

Professor Josifas Parasonis (Vilnius Gediminas Technical University) contributed this opinion piece in Lithuanian earlier today. This translation is provided by Defending History, with Prof. Parasonis’s consent, for our readers’ information (with hyperlinks provided by DH). In the event of any query arising, the Lithuanian version alone is authoritative. Prof. Parasonis is one of the twenty-one Vilnius Jewish Community council members elected on 24 May 2017. See also the letter signed by him and nineteen others, addressed to the Good Will Foundation last July, and, in reverse chronological order, Defending History’s section on Vilnius Jewish life. DH opinion pieces represent the views of the author.

Methods of authoritarian and obtuse governance, evident for many years in the management of the Lithuanian Jewish Community (LJC), have recently reached the public sphere. Despite the fierce resistance and brutal interference of the chairwoman of the LJC (and, until recently, of the Vilnius Jewish Community, too) Faina Kukliansky, the Vilnius Jewish Community (VJC) [on 24 May 2017] organized a general conference of Vilnius Jews according to all legal procedures — with, incidentally, record-high attendance — and elected its new council [of 21 members] democratically. But the notion that Jewish people solve their problems in a wise manner, although prevalent in society, demonstrably did not take root in this case. As a former deputy chairman of the LJC (2000–2005), I feel an obligation to share my thoughts on why this has happened. It seems to me that I have a moral right to share these thoughts.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Josifas Parasonis, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on Whom Does the “Lithuanian Jewish Community” Board Really Represent?

A “Vilnius Model” for Roma Integration?



OPINION  |  ROMA RIGHTS   |  HUMAN RIGHTS

by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė

In April of 2016, the Vilnius City Municipality announced the launching of its Roma Integration Program, or “Vilnius (Kirtimai) Roma Tabor Community Social Integration Program for 2016-2019.” The municipality’s plans were widely discussed in the media, which in its own turn, came up with sensational headlines like “Program of Roma Integration and Tabor Eradication To Be Approved.” A curious fact: Roma representatives did not take part in the negotiation process for this major 700,000 euro project. They were not invited to even observe a single meeting. As ever, Roma are being “integrated” behind their own backs.

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Is Prof. Krutikov the Latest Lithuanian Gov. “Yiddish Star” to be Manipulated?



OPINION  |  JEWISH STUDIES AS COVER  |  YIDDISH AFFAIRS

VILNIUS—Beware of any academic conference hosted by a nation’s parliament. This isn’t about Lithuania, the Baltics, or Eastern Europe. It’s about the intellectual independence and academic integrity of bona fide academic conclaves anywhere. There are elementary questions. Was there a public call for papers? Was there an academic committee established to select those papers by the most competent specialists on the actual topic of the conference? An academic committee that would guard against the petty jealousies, politics of revenge and personal exclusions, as well as larger political correctnesses or state-sponsored-agency attempts to predetermine the proceedings or (ab)use them for governmental PR? Is the conference a free tribune for the exchange of ideas in an atmosphere of collegiality and mutual respect? One where scholars of opposing views can thrash it out, robustly and publicly — without the loss of interpersonal respect — to yield positive results for the area of human enquiry to which the conference was dedicated in the first place. One of the ironies is that Vilnius is nowadays host to some of the world’s best (and most academically free) conferences in an array of fields, both in the humanities and the sciences. That Soviet-style rigging should survive in the case of Judaic studies, of all things, will itself be studied one day.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), "Jewish" Events as Cover?, "Red-Brown Commission", Bloomington-Borns Program Manipulated?, News & Views, Opinion, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), Vilnius Yiddish Institute, Yiddish Affairs, Yivo Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Is Prof. Krutikov the Latest Lithuanian Gov. “Yiddish Star” to be Manipulated?

Lithuanian Gov. Announces Renaming of “Genocide Museum”; Defending History Congratulates Officials



Defending History Brings Results

Lithuanian Gov. Announces Name Change for a Far-Right History-Distorting “Genocide Museum”

“COURAGEOUS STEP”;  DEFENDING HISTORY SAYS: CONGRATULATIONS!

See Dovid Katz in 2009;  Defending History in 2010;  “Genocide Center” behind the museum; 2016 study of “Double Genocide” impact on museums

THE CHANGE IS A MAJOR SETBACK FOR THE DOUBLE GENOCIDE MOVEMENT’S CAMPAIGN TO REDEFINE GENOCIDE IN THE CAUSE OF EQUALIZING AND MIX-AND-MATCHING TWO ENTIRELY DIFFERENT EVILS

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Posted in Double Genocide, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Symbology, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on Lithuanian Gov. Announces Renaming of “Genocide Museum”; Defending History Congratulates Officials

Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas Launches Survey on Empathy for Lithuania’s Jews



   CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  CEMETERIES  |  OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION

VILNIUS—VGTU Lecturer Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas invites readers of all backgrounds to help in his new survey by answering an online questionnaire, in English (What Would Deepen Empathy for Lithuania’s Jews?) or in Lithuanian (Kas didintų atjautą Lietuvos žydams?). He is hoping for as wide a diversity of views as possible.

Our answers will help his research which he will present in Lublin, Poland on September 14, 2017.  His presentation is: How Do Things Come to Matter? Evolution of Self-Identity in the Intercultural Debate on Whether to Restore Vilnius’s Oldest Jewish Cemetery.  He will be speaking at ICPLM 2017, a conference on Culture − Cognition − Communication: (Inter)cultural perspectives on language and the mind. All are welcome to attend and participate in the discussion.

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Posted in Andrius Kulikauskas, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok) | Comments Off on Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas Launches Survey on Empathy for Lithuania’s Jews

Vilnius Celebrating Milan Chersonski’s 80th Birthday on September 2nd 2017



EVENTS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE

אַ ליכטיקן געבאָרנטאָג, טײַערער מילאַן!

Happy Birthday, Milan!

Milan Chersonski

Holocaust flight survivor. Powerful essayist and masterful editor. For 20 years he directed the Vilnius Yiddish Folk Theater. Then, for a dozen years he edited Jerusalem of Lithuania, the Jewish community’s quadrilingual (English-Lithuanian-Russian-Yiddish) newspaper (with each issue produced in four separate editions!). Beloved writer at DefendingHistory.com. Champion of Yiddish culture, Jewish heritage, teaching the truth about the Holocaust, human rights and equality, honesty in journalism and intellectual discourse, freedom of speech, and a more just and fair society for all. 

Posted in Events, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Milan Chersonski, News & Views, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on Vilnius Celebrating Milan Chersonski’s 80th Birthday on September 2nd 2017

Historic Conference on Future of Vilna Great Synagogue Site is Open to All



EVENTS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK TIMES

VILNIUS—Excitement in Jewish-interest circles in Lithuania and its region is building in anticipation of next week’s open international conference on the future of the site of the historic Great Vilna Synagogue. Destroyed during and after the war, an unsightly Soviet era school was then plonked on top (somewhat analogously, morally and aesthetically, to the unsightly old Soviet “sports palace” atop the city’s old Jewish cemetery at Piramónt).

The conference, to be held in Vilnius next Monday and Tuesday, 4 and 5 September 2017, is free and open to the public. Everybody is welcome. But pre-registration is required at the website of the organizing NGO, Litvak World.

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Honest Error at German Embassy in Vilnius?



OPINION  |  USE AND ABUSE OF PONÁR  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

VILNIUS—“There is nothing new under the sun,” as the Good Book says (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Sure, on occasion, Irish communities will feud in Boston, Italians in New York, Chinese in LA and Lithuanians in Chicago. It is part of the professional training, posture, and policy of diplomats to negotiate such inevitabilities by way of common sense, wisdom, and fairness. For years now, the widely admired German ambassador to Lithuania, HE Jutta Schmitz has kept her embassy’s diplomatic table open to people and organizations, governmental and non-governmental, from across the colorfully diverse spectrum of opinion in Lithuania. It is not known whether the recent completion of her Vilnius ambassadorship and departure from Lithuania,  and the temporary vacancy,  had anything to do with the embassy’s recent, and quite innocent, faux-pas.

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Posted in Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Germany, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai), Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Honest Error at German Embassy in Vilnius?

Brand New Yiddish Signs Come to Malát (Molėtai), Town in Northeast Lithuania



MALÁT  |  SHTETL COMMEMORATIONS  |  YIDDISH AFFAIRS

MALÁT (MOLĖTAI)—At the initiative of Viktorija Kazlienė, founder and director of the Museum of the Molėtai Region (Molėtų krašto muziejus) in northeastern Lithuania, a series of Jewish historical signs were unveiled this week. The project came to fruition thanks to the material support of the Department of Cultural Heritage, that is under the aegis of Lithuania’s Ministry of Culture.

In the event, these signs mark the one-year anniversary of the internationally acclaimed march of memory held in August 2016 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the massacre of the town’s Jews in 1941 by local collaborators, under the aegis of the Nazis, and during the period of rapid annihilation of Lithuania’s provincial Jewry. In addition to playing a pivotal role in enabling the 2016 march and commemorative events, Ms. Kazlienė organized an extensive exhibition on the centuries-old Jewish life in the erstwhile shtetl, known in Yiddish as Malát. With Leonas Kaplanas, she coauthored a book based on the exhibition. It was featured in this year’s Vilnius Book Fair.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Malát (Molėtai), News & Views, Politics of Memory, Symbology, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Brand New Yiddish Signs Come to Malát (Molėtai), Town in Northeast Lithuania

Neo-Nazis in Lithuania Again Get “Material” from “Official” Jewish Community’s Leadership



VILNIUS—In a kind of topsy-turvy-world follow-up to last June’s neo-Nazi pick-up of an abusive article on the website of the official state-sponsored Jewish Community of Lithuania, the nation’s chief neo-Nazi blogger, “Zeppelinus,” infamous for his racist, misogynistic, homophobic and antisemitic invective and graphics (samples here and here), has again jumped on the recent attempts of the current leadership of the state-sponsored official “Jewish Community of Lithuania” to use the historic term “Litvak” (‘Jew of Lithuanian heritage’) to divide the Jewish community racially and ethnically between alleged “pure-blooded Lithuanian Jews identifiable today by their Lithuanian language” and “Russian-speakers.” On at least one occasion, an international scandal resulted in a half-mouthed apology following the most offensive official posting and a hapless attempted “edit” that followed on. Vilna-born Holocaust survivor Prof. Pinchos Fridberg has commented on the affair.

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New Hotel on Top of Old Jewish Cemetery in Wrocław? A Challenge for Poland’s Jewish-Interest Activists and London’s CPJCE



CEMETERIES  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  POLAND  |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS   |  CPJCE  |  OPPOSITION TO VILNIUS CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  VILNIUS PETITION

New Hotel Wroclaw

Logo for the new Hotel Wrocław?

WROCŁAWIt would be hard to find a better illustration of what is at stake in the current conflict over the fate of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery in Vilnius, Lithuania, than the partly analogous scenario playing out here in this western Polish city that was once the German Breslau (Yiddish Brésle), home to a major European Jewish community. The Gwarna Street Cemetery, just opposite the main railway station, was this city’s first Jewish cemetery, in active use from 1760 until 1856. Although closed for new burials in 1856, it was lovingly maintained, and remained open for visitors until World War II. Several thousand people were buried here.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Human Rights, News & Views, Poland, Politics of Memory, United Kingdom, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on New Hotel on Top of Old Jewish Cemetery in Wrocław? A Challenge for Poland’s Jewish-Interest Activists and London’s CPJCE

New NATO Film Unwittingly Glorifies Holocaust Collaborators


OPINION


by Dovid Katz

Our take? NATO needs to stand for Western values. Putin’s shameful “Zapad 17” military exercise demo, in  regions bordering the eastern democratic lands of NATO and the EU — including the three Baltic states, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia — is intended to intimidate their peaceful populations and to provoke regional unease. Not to mention the very real danger that various of the troops will find one way or another “to stay in the region after the exercises are over” in a very tired old Soviet spirit of things. These military exercises need to be exposed for what they are, and countered with stalwart determination. NATO’s commitment to its members must remain sacrosanct and permanent, while remaining true to the ideals for which, ultimately, it exists.

That makes it all the more critical for the North Atlantic alliance (and the EU) not to succumb to regional far-right, ultranationalist, chauvinist, Holocaust-revisionist, and antisemitic forces in the course of the proceedings.

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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Dovid Katz, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on New NATO Film Unwittingly Glorifies Holocaust Collaborators

Vilnius TV & Radio Debates on Future of Piramónt — the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



DOCUMENTS  |  THE OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  INTERNATIONAL PETITION   |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  CEMETERIES  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—Following Defending History’s publication last weekend of the 28 July 2017 letter to the president of Lithuania signed by twelve United States congressmen, pleading for the new national convention center project to be moved away from the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery (Piramónt, in the Šnipiškės district of modern Vilnius), the news was reported by The Weekly of Vilnius, an elite diplomatic publication on Lithuanian affairs, and then by BNS (Baltic News Service, and in English via the Lithuania Tribune), which put it into the wider Baltic domain. Last Monday, 14 August, there were at least four panel discussions broadcast on Lithuanian TV and radio. The following are full English translations of each of these broadcasts, provided by DefendingHistory.com.

(1) LNK TV: News. With Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius), Faina Kukliansky,   Rūta Leitanaitė, Daniel Lupschitz (Danielius Lupšicas),  Deividas Matulionis, Romas Pakalnis, Donatas Stundis

(2) LRT TV: Panorama. With Simon Gurevich, Skirmantas Malinauskas, Valdonė Rundenkienė

(3) LRT Radio: Lithuanian Day. With Simon Gurevich, Agnė Kairiūnaitė, Deividas Matulionis

(4) LRT Radio: 60 Minutes. With Simon Gurevich, Agnė Kairiūnaitė, Faina Kukliansky, Deividas Matulionis, passers-by and a taxi driver

LITE-Vulovak-on-national-convention-center-opening

Vulovak for DefendingHistory.com

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius TV & Radio Debates on Future of Piramónt — the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Professor Leiman Responds to Lithuanian President on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION   |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  CEMETERIES  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE

VILNIUS—The following statement by Professor Shnayer (Sid) Leiman, appeared today in the respected American weekly Five Towns Jewish Times. It is a reaction to the comments by Lithuania’s top leaders, made after receiving a letter of protest from twelve United States congressmen concerning plans to site a projected new national convention center in the heart of the territory of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in the Šnipiškės district of modern Vilnius). International opposition to “the convention center in the old Jewish cemetery” continues to mount.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, CPJCE (London), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Sid (Shnayer) Leiman, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Professor Leiman Responds to Lithuanian President on the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Why the Dead Jews of Vilna Cannot Rest in Peace



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION   |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  CEMETERIES  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE

The following article which covers the recent meetings between the mayor of Vilnius and Jewish leaders in New York City, appeared today in Five Towns Jewish Times (as PDF).

by Rabbi Zev Friedman

The dispute over Vilna’s oldest synagogue has been brewing for more than a decade. Recently, as a result of the involvement and protestations of a coalition of rabbinic leaders and activists, the fight has intensified.

The Jewish community in Lithuania is hundreds of years old. The Vilna Gaon, who lived in the 18th century, and other great Torah luminaries helped Vilna earn its reputation as the Jerusalem of Eastern Europe.

The Shoah. Lithuania has rightfully earned one of the most sordid reputations of anti-Semitism based upon its participation in the Holocaust. While almost everyone heard of Babi Yar, where 33,000 men, women, and children were murdered, many have not heard about Ponary (Ponár), the forest outside of Vilna where double that amount — approximately 70,000 Jews — were rounded up and massacred by Lithuanian Nazi collaborators.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged | Comments Off on Why the Dead Jews of Vilna Cannot Rest in Peace

Ruta Bloshtein Responds to Lithuania’s Top Politicians on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION   |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  CEMETERIES  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE

VILNIUS—The following statement by Vilnius native and resident Ruta Bloshtein, an active member of the city’s religious Jewish community, appeared today as an update to her international petition, which has just approached the 40,000 signature mark. Her update was issued as  a reaction to the comments by Lithuania’s top leaders, made after receiving a letter of protest from twelve United States congressmen concerning plans to site a projected new national convention center in the heart of the territory of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in the Šnipiškės district of modern Vilnius). International opposition to “the convention center in the old Jewish cemetery” continues to mount.


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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Lithuanian Adventures of the Hon. Herbert Block (AK, AZM, (LG)CJH, CPJCE, GWF, USCPAHA, SATMAR/“AARON BRANCH", WJRO), Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Politics of Memory, Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Ruta Bloshtein Responds to Lithuania’s Top Politicians on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

“Weekly of Vilnius” is First Lithuanian Publication to Cover US Congress Letter on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



DOCUMENTS  |  THE OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  INTERNATIONAL PETITION   |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  CEMETERIES  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUSThe Weekly of Vilnius, widely considered to be this city’s most prestigious English-language news publication, was today the first in the Lithuanian capital to cover news of the letter from twelve United States congressmen to the president of Lithuania concerning current plans to situate a projected new national convention center in the heart of the city’s historic old Jewish cemetery, at Piramónt, in the Šnipiškės section of modern Vilnius. With the permission of the publishers, we are reproducing the title page of today’s edition and the entire article concerning the cemetery. In the spirit of classic journalism, The Weekly of Vilnius has no online edition (only an online description page) and is available weekly by emailed PDF or hard copy to its elite group of subscribers, known to include embassies, government agencies, captains of industry, politicians, academics and relevant institutions, libraries, and think tanks around the world. It is edited by the distinguished economist and journalist Mr. Nehro Khalil. A PDF facsimile of today’s report follows. Please use the arrows in the upper left hand corner to turn pages in either direction.

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Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on “Weekly of Vilnius” is First Lithuanian Publication to Cover US Congress Letter on Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

12 US Congressmen Call on Lithuania’s President to Move Convention Center Project Away from Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery



OLD VILNA JEWISH CEMETERY  |  OPPOSITION TO CONVENTION CENTER PROJECT  |  PETITION   |  CHRISTIAN-JEWISH RELATIONS  |  CEMETERIES  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE

Congress Letter on Piramont

WASHINGTON—A resolute letter (facsimile below; as PDF) signed by twelve United States congressmen to the president of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaitė, was released here today. Dated 28 July 2017, the letter expresses American “opposition to the conversion of the old Vilnius Palace of Concerts and Sports into a convention center on the site of the old Jewish cemetery.” It asserts that “the very presence of the existing structure in the middle of the old Jewish cemetery desecrates it and conflicts with the respect for human dignity that forms the basis of Western Civilization. By contrast, moving the convention center project to another site, and permitting the dismantling of the abandoned Sports Palace it was to replace, would affirm the Lithuanian government’s commitment to basic human rights.”

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Christian-Jewish Issues, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), United States, US Commission for Preservation of the American Heritage Abroad, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 12 US Congressmen Call on Lithuania’s President to Move Convention Center Project Away from Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery

Vilnius Jewish Community Releases Letter Signed by 20 Elected Board Members Addressed to “Good Will Foundation”



DOCUMENTS  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  DEMOCRACY  |  GOOD WILL FOUNDATION  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

VILNIUS—One month ago, on 7 July 2017, twenty of the twenty-one elected board members of the Vilnius Jewish Community (the 21st was abroad) signed a full-hearted letter addressed to the Good Will Foundation, the Lithuanian government restitution fund for Jewish community survival deriving from part of the value of the communal properties owned by the annihilated religious Jewish communities of prewar Lithuania. To this date, there has been no reply from the Good Will Foundation, nor any statement from its esteemed foreign board members who represent the World Jewish Restitution Organization. The board’s co-chair is Andrew Baker of the American Jewish Committee, who is a recipient of a number of Lithuanian government medals over the years.

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Posted in "Good Will Foundation" (Jewish Restitution in Lithuania), Free Speech & Democracy, Lithuania, Lithuanian Adventures of the Hon. Herbert Block (AK, AZM, (LG)CJH, CPJCE, GWF, USCPAHA, SATMAR/“AARON BRANCH", WJRO), Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius), Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Jewish Community Releases Letter Signed by 20 Elected Board Members Addressed to “Good Will Foundation”